I remember it well. We were playing soccer at recess. It was early spring and the field was a mix of mud puddles, ice patches and dry spots. We tried mostly to kick the ball to the dry spots, but that didn’t always happen. Suddenly the ball was kicked our way. We charged at it, some to kick it into the net, others to keep it out. In the aftermath, there was Judy Patterson lying on her back in the middle of a huge puddle of water.
Off we went to the principal’s office. Who pushed Judy down, he asked. Dead silence. Our tongues were paralyzed by fear of our principal and his infamous strap, and one from guilt. Threaten all he liked, no one confessed. Finally, he brought Judy in. She promptly said, “Dennis Becker.” I am not sure why, for this was probably the only time I could honestly say I hadn’t done it.
The disciples were caught in their foolish desire to be number one. Jesus was on his way to die, and all they could think about was power. Sheepishly, guiltily, they held their tongues; nothing they said would have helped them. Nothing, that is, except, “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
Lord, give us the wisdom to know when to speak and when not to. Amen. — DAB